Croatia hang on against Morocco to claim third place at the World Cup

Croatia hang on against Morocco to claim third place at the World Cup
Mislav Orsic scored a spectacular second goal for Croatia
Mislav Orsic scored a spectacular second goal for Croatia
Profimedia, StatsPerform
Croatia and Morocco met in their first game of the World Cup in Qatar and today they met again in their last match of the tournament. This time, they were battling it out for the consolation prize of third place after both impressing and inspiring by reaching the semi-finals. After a frantic start to the game with a goal for each side in the first 10 minutes, Mislav Orsic (29) put the Balkan side back in front with a wonderful goal and Croatia hung on for the win.

18:00 CET: Well, what an enthralling game that was! Both sides really brought their A-games today and plenty of intensity and desire to boot. In the end, Croatia did enough to repel the late Morrocan attempts on their goal and you have to say, they deserved to win. 

Check out the full match stats below and read Fabio Duarte's full match report here.

We will be back again tomorrow for the main event when Argentina and France meet in the World Cup final. Follow the match on

Second Half

Full-time stats
Opta by Stats Perform

97': That was the last action as the referee blows for full-time. Croatia finish in third place!

96': En Nesyri climbs above his marker and heads the ball just over the crossbar. So close to an equaliser.

95': Kristijan Jakic comes on for the last few minutes for Croatia. Orsic goes off.

91': Ziyech fizzes a hopeful long shot over the bar and there will be six minutes added on to the half. Can Morocco find a leveller?

87': Kovacic is found in the box but he pulls his shot wide. I wonder if he'll come to rue that missed chance for Croatia.

84': Amallah is booked for protesting rather too furiously. 

80': Coming into the final 10 minutes of the game and it's been another phase of end-to-end action in this game. Can Croatia hang onto this lead or will Moroccan send it into extra time?

76': Drama now as there are two penalty shouts and quite incredibly neither are being reviewed by the referee. First Gvardiol was taken down in the Moroccan box and then Hakimi went down in the Croatian box. The first shout for Croatia looked like a penalty for sure.

75': Down the other end now and Livakovic has made a huge save to deny En Nesyri.

74': Gvardiol goes down in the Moroccan box and it looked close to a penalty.

69': Ounahi picks up the first yellow of the match.

67': Jawad El Yamiq has had to go off with an injury as well and is replaced by Selim Amallah. That means that Morocco have officially run out of central defenders at this World Cup, at least there isn't too much longer left. 

66': And even more changes now. Croatia have taken Livaja and Majer off. They are replaced by Petkovic and Pasalic.

64': Morocco have been the walking wounded for a few games it feels. They have made two more changes now. Anass Zaroury replaces Boufal and Achraf Dari is replaced by Badr Benoun.

62': Kramaric has gone off due to that aforementioned injury. He is replaced by Nikola Vlasic for Croatia.

61': Check out our Momentum graphic below, courtesy of Opta by StatsPerfrom. You see that Croatia have been good value for their lead in this match but can they hang onto it?

Momentum in the first hour
Opta by Stats Perform

59': Kramaric is receiving some treatment from the medical staff after sustaining an injury.

56': Another change for Morocco as Azzedine Ounahi replaces Bilal El Khannous.

55': Well the teams have come out flying again in this half with Croatia looking the more deadly.

46': Morocco start the second half and they have made one change. Abdelhamid Sabiri is off and Ilias Chair has replaced him.

First Half

First-half stats
Opta by Stats Perform

48': That'll be halftime in this match and it's been a very absorbing 45 minutes of football. Stay tuned for the first-half stats.

46': Just two minutes added on to this half.

42': GOAL CROATIA! Mislav Orsic has reclaimed the lead for Croatia with an absolutely gorgeous finish. From the left-hand side of the box, he has bent the ball with his right foot beyond Bono's reach and into the goal off the post. Quite a wonderful strike and deserving of the lead... at least for now.

37': En Nesyri glances a header across the face of the goal. Morocco may have had fewer shots on target but they are very much in this contest.

34': There's a real element of intensity to this match which is great. The fear of this fixture is that the teams might not be too bothered, having been dumped out in the semis. But both these sides look determined to take the bronze medal home.

29': Hakimi has done brilliantly down the right for Morocco and whips a dangerous ball in but it's too quick for En Nesyri to latch onto. They may not have many surges forward, but when Morocco do go, they look likely to cause trouble especially when Hakimi is involved.

27': Looking at the Momentum graphic below, you can that it really has been mostly Croatia applying the pressure in the early stages. They will be annoyed about conceding a goal on Morocco's only really threatening foray forward.

Momentum in the opening stages
Opta by Stats Perform

24': Livaja comes very close to scoring for Croatia after Bono spills Modric's shot into his path. Despite the score being level, Croatia have had far more chances in this match. In fact, Morocco have just had that one shot - which they scored from. Croatia are starting to control possession and the rhythm of the match. 

18': Some nice build-up play from the Croatians ends with Kramaric heading the ball into Bono's arms. From the way this match has started, you can feel that there could be many more goals in this one. That's what the third-place playoff can offer you - the teams are a little more open, a little less defensive and cautious, and the goals can thus flow.

14': Well, this game is much more lively than the first time these two met in the tournament, that's for sure. It's been a frantic opening to the match - end-to-end stuff!

9': GOAL! Would you believe it, Morocco has responded with a goal for themselves already! Another set piece, this time the Morrocan free kick is deflected skywards and into the box and the centre back Dari is there to head it home for the Africans. What a start to this game! 

7': GOAL! An early goal for Croatia! And it's a very cleverly worked set piece. From a dinked free-kick into the box, Perisic headed the ball back across the box which Gvardiol met with a spectacular diving header into the top corner. Great start for Croatia!

4': Both sides have made plenty of changes today, some enforced, some rotational or tactical. Have a look at the Team News below to read about the switches.

3': Bono has been brilliant in goal for Morocco this tournament but he almost side-footed the ball into his own net there under very little pressure. What a strange start that would have been. As it turns out, it goes for a corner. Slightly chaotic beginning.

1': Croatia kick off in the Khalifa International Stadium.

Pre Match

15:59 CET: The teams are out there ready to go. Croatia in their classic checkered kit, Morocco in red and green. The referee is A. Al Jassim of Qatar.

15:57 CET: Welcome to our live updates for the third-place playoff at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It's Croatia and Morocco fighting out for the bronze bragging rights today. They met in the group stage and it was a draw so expect another close affair here.

Team News

Croatia and Morocco have both made several changes to their starting lineups for their World Cup third-place playoff at Khalifa International Stadium, with both coaches giving opportunities to players benched during the tournament.

Morocco will be without skipper Romain Saiss who lasted only 21 minutes in the semi-final defeat by France before he was substituted, with head coach Walid Regragui saying it was a risk worth taking at the time but not for the playoff.

"We won't be taking risks... especially Saiss. He's been ruled out. But I'm confident and trust in our group," Regragui had said on the eve of the game.

In defence, Achraf Hakimi and Jawad El Yamiq retain their place, with Achraf Dari and Yahya Attiat-Allah coming in for the injured Saiss and Nayef Aguerd.

Croatia skipper Luka Modric starts in midfield alongside Mateo Kovacic, but Marcelo Brozovic sits out with Lovro Majer coming in. Marko Livaja and Mislav Orsic start in attack.


Croatia: Dominik Livakovic, Josip Stanisic, Ivan Perisic, Lovro Majer, Mateo Kovacic, Andrej Kramaric, Luka Modric, Marko Livaja, Mislav Orsic, Josko Gvardiol, Josip Sutalo

Morocco: Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Jawad El Yamiq, Sofyan Amrabat, Hakim Ziyech, Soufiane Boufal, Youssef En-Nesyri, Achraf Dari, Bilal El Khannouss, Yahya Attiat-Allah

See how they shape up here.


On November 23rd, Croatia and Morocco met in their opening Group F fixture and played out a cagey goalless draw. Few could have predicted that both sides would go on from there to reach the semi-finals of this World Cup.

Both nations had magical runs to the last four and both shocked the world by beating heavyweights of world football along the way. 

Morocco, in particular, seemed to capture the hearts of the whole of Africa and the Arab world during the tournament. Their spirited and well-organized displays attracted admirers wide and far. They became the first-ever African nation to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup - a remarkable achievement on its own. Despite falling at that hurdle to France, they and their fans will be thrilled with how they performed throughout. 

Croatia reached the final in Russia at the last World Cup in 2018 and so onlookers were less surprised by their progression to the semis. However, it was nonetheless an incredible result for such a small nation to get that far in consecutive tournaments. They were outclassed by Argentina in their last match but they will hang on fondly to memories of beating pre-tournament favourites Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Both sides will be looking to cap off their incredible journeys in Qatar with one last win and the privilege of being able to claim third place. Follow all the action with our live updates on this page or use our audio commentary feature here